Iran has apparently managed to somehow, almost entirely, copy the infamous US-made anti-tank guided missile – the AGM-41 Hellfire.
Couple photos of Iranian Ghaem 114 air-to-ground guided missile. pic.twitter.com/7fO0mDmfUg
— Yuri Lyamin (@imp_navigator) December 1, 2020
The ATGM is the standard armament of the AH-64 Apache, AH-1Z Viper, OH-58 Kiowa helicopters, as well as the MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper attack drones.
The created clone, designated Ghaem-114, is currently on display at an exhibition of achievements and promising developments for the naval forces in Tehran.
As noted by military expert Yuri Lyamin, the existence of such weapons became known in February 2020, when missiles were noticed in the photographs of one of the modernized Bell-214A helicopters of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. But then they were shown from afar, and now they can already be seen in close-up.
Given that the US has been actively using the Hellfire for years in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, it probably didn’t take much for the Iranians to get hold of them.
Judging by the photo, the four missiles shown have different guidance heads: thermal imaging, television, semi-active laser and, as it is assumed, active radar.
If Iran has indeed managed to recreate the fourth option, which is capable of acting on the “fire-and-forget” principle, then this can be considered a great achievement of the Islamic Republic’s military industry.
On December 4th, additional reports surfaced that Iran had, in fact, got under its possession a US-made AGM-41 Hellfire.
Where and how such trophies were obtained is not specified. Nevertheless, it is noted that as a result of the study of American ammunition and their copying, an Iranian missile appeared, now being produced under the designation Ghaem-114.
The copied American missile has practically the same shape and size, but according to available data, Tehran was able to successfully modify the functionality of the shells to suit its needs.
It remains only to speculate how Iran was able to obtain the Hellfire missile. It is possible that the American drone was shot down in the skies over Syria, although there is information that the missile was transferred from the territory of Yemen, where the Houthi rebels with the help of Iranian weapons were able to shoot down several UAVs of the American Air Force. These missiles were attached to some of the devices.
This is not the first time that American technology has been reverse engineered. The Iranians are known to have successfully copied the M47 Dragon and BGM-71 TOW. The latter are produced in various modifications, including those with tandem cumulative warheads. These ATGMs have been used in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.
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